The European Parliament has approved a partial agreement on the priorities of the European Defence Fund for the coming parliamentary period.
Defence funding in the EU between 2021 and 2027 is set to prioritise EU defence innovation and research in developing defence technologies, with particular focus on cooperation between Member States conducting research and development projects. The European Defence Fund is aimed at establishing the EU as one of Europe’s top four investors in research and technology development in the defence sector. Parliament has proposed an initial budget for the 2021-27 session of €11.5 billion; although the exact sum will be agreed as part of negotiations on the EU’s 2021-27 budget.
The predominant features of the European Defence Fund, as approved by MEPs, include:
- Full development support for new industrial defence products, from the initial research stage, through prototype development, to certification;
- Boosted incentives for EU defence innovation and development to be allocated to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps (companies valued between $2 billion [1.78 billion] and $10 billion [8.88 billion]), which will receive higher rates of financing;
- Defence priorities for project funding to be set primarily by Member States, taking into account the priorities of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the concerns of outside defence bodies such as NATO; and
- Internationally collaborative projects must feature at least three participants from three Member States or associated nations to be eligible for funding.
Rapporteur Zdzisław Krasnodębski said: “I believe that the European Defence Fund will help to jointly develop innovative defence products and technologies in cooperation between defence industries from different Member States, including those not involved in this process so far. Thanks to the EDF, we will not only prevent taxpayers’ money being wasted on unnecessary duplication of defence capabilities, but more importantly also increase Europe’s security and create new jobs in the defence industry sector.”